Review: Pulp

Blu-ray: Pulp (1972)

A year on from working together on Get Carter, writer/director Mike Hodges and cinematic legend Michael Caine team up once again for another crime movie, albeit one with a slightly quirky narrative.

Mickey King (Caine) is a successful ‘pulp‘ novelist, whose titles ‘My Gun is Long’ and ‘The Organ Grinder’, give some indication of where the bar is set in terms of humour in the movie. He’s invited to ghost-write the autobiography of a mystery celebrity, who turns out to be Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), a former actor whose roles in gangster movies now influence his retirement years and the way that he acts in social gatherings. As old scores are settled, King finds himself embroiled in a situation that wouldn’t seem out of place in one of his pulp novels.

Pulp is a crime/comedy/drama where the laughs outnumber the action and the narrative has its tongue pressed firmly into its figurative cheek.

Caine is his usual always watchable self; coiffured hair and big glasses attracting all the female (and occasional male) characters in the movie…one secretary immediately gives into his charms and is led into the office toilet for some hanky panky while her boss waits outside due to his weak bladder problem. That’s about as subtle as it gets.

Mickey Rooney is spectacular as Preston Gilbert, making something as simple as standing in front of a mirror wearing just his underpants much more than it should be. The scene where he is head of the table at a family function gives him the opportunity to display his slapstick acting chops, and he revels in the occasion as he slips, slides and dashes all over the screen.

The core thread of the story is often forgotten as one outrageous scene leads to another, few of which help King to complete the autobiography for which he was originally tasked. The initial act of finding his mystery celebrity involves an act of mistaken identity on a long bus journey, where red herrings are laid and characters you initially think will be important, vanish from the screen shortly after.

Pulp is by no means a classic in any of its crime/comedy/drama genres, yet much like a meal at a roadside cafe, all the separate ingredients blend together to give a satisfying treat. Well worth watching.

Pulp will be released on December 18th and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes!

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.